“SITTING DUCKS” IN “UNSAFE THIRD COUNTRIES” — How The Supremes, The 9th Circuit, The 5th Circuit, & Other Complicit Federal Appellate Courts Aid & Abet The Trump Regime’s Human Rights Violations — Would The “Privileged Robed Ones” Take Due Process & The Rule Of Law More Seriously If It Were THEIR Kids & Grandkids Being Kidnapped & Held for Ransom For The “Crime” Of Seeking Protection Under U.S. Laws?  

“SITTING DUCKS” IN “UNSAFE THIRD COUNTRIES” — How The Supremes, The 9th Circuit, The 5th Circuit, & Other Complicit Federal Appellate Courts Aid & Abet The Trump Regime’s Human Rights Violations — Would The “Privileged Robed Ones” Take Due Process & The Rule Of Law More Seriously If It Were Their Kids & Grandkids Being Kidnapped & Held for Ransom For The “Crime” Of Seeking Protection Under U.S. Laws?  

Robbie Whelan
Robbie Whelan
Mexico City Correspondent
Wall Street Journal



Robbie Whelan reports for the WSJ:

Latin America

Violence Plagues Migrants Under U.S. ‘Remain in Mexico’ Program

Migrants seeking shelter in the U.S. under Trump administration policy report rising numbers of kidnappings by criminal groups

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico—Every morning, Lorenzo Ortíz, a Baptist pastor who lives in Texas, drives a 12-seat passenger van packed with food and blankets across the border to pick up migrants who have been dropped off in Mexico and ferry them to shelters.

His mission is to keep the migrants safe from organized crime groups that prowl the streets of this violent Mexican border town. Since the Trump administration began implementing its Migrant Protection Protocols program at the start of 2019—widely known as Remain in Mexico—some 54,000 migrants, mostly from Central America, have been sent back to northern Mexico to wait while their asylum claims are processed. Mexico’s government is helping implement it.

But in cities like Nuevo Laredo, migrants are sitting ducks. Over the years, thousands have reported being threatened, extorted or kidnapped by criminal groups, who prey upon asylum seekers at bus stations and other public spaces.

“Over the last year, it’s gotten really bad,” Mr. Ortíz said.

A typical scheme involves kidnapping migrants and holding them until a relative in the U.S. wires money, typically thousands of dollars, in ransom money. Gangs have also attacked shelters and even some Mexican clergy members who help migrants.

There have been 636 reported cases of kidnapping, rape, torture and other violent crimes against migrants returned to Mexico under Remain in Mexico, according to Human Rights First, which interviews victims in border cities and advocates for migrants’ due process rights. At least 138 of these incidents involved kidnappings of children.

Many more cases of extortion and violence go unreported for fear of retribution. As more migrants are returned to dangerous areas such as Nuevo Laredo under Remain in Mexico, the situation is expected to worsen, the nonprofit Human Rights First said in a recent report.

The Mexican government has played down the violence. Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard recently acknowledged kidnapping incidents, but said that “it’s not a massive number.” Only 20 such cases have been investigated by the government, he added.

The Trump administration has credited the program with deterring migrants from attempting to cross into the U.S. Monthly apprehensions of migrants at the U.S. Southern border have plunged from more than 144,000 in May to 33,500 in November. The Remain in Mexico program was expanded in June.

On a recent visit to the border, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the program has been a “game-changer” for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers because it has freed them from having to perform humanitarian duties.

But Mr. Ortíz’s daily commute back and forth over the border highlights what migrants’ advocates say is a key element of the program—it isolates migrants not only from the legal counsel they need to argue their asylum claims, but from resources like food, shelter and medical care that are abundant on the U.S. side, but near-nonexistent in Mexico.

“You have all this infrastructure to help feed and clothe and house people set up on this side, in Laredo and Del Rio and Eagle Pass, and then suddenly the administration changes the policy, and you have to send it all to Mexico, because now everyone is on the other side,” said Denise LaRock, a Catholic Sister who helps distribute donations to asylum seekers through the nonprofit Interfaith Welcome Coalition. Mexico has been unable to provide enough safe shelter and other resources to migrants.

In Matamoros, another large recipient of asylum seekers under the program across the border from Brownsville, Texas, a tent city of more than 3,000 people has sprung up. Migrants there have complained of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and insufficient medical treatment. In November, a migrant from El Salvador was murdered in Tijuana, opposite San Diego, while waiting with his wife and two children for an asylum hearing under the Remain in Mexico program.

On a recent, briskly-cold Wednesday, Mr. Ortíz, dressed in a ski vest and a baseball cap with the logo of the U.S. Chaplain International Association, picked up six migrants, including two children aged 8 and 14, at the immigration office in Nuevo Laredo. All were from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras, and were returning from legal appointments in the U.S. Hearings take place in makeshift courts set up in tents in Laredo, just across the bridge over the Rio Grande that separates the two cities.

At the front door of the office, six young men sat idly around a motorcycle, hats pulled low over their heads, watching the scene unfold, periodically walking up to the church van and peering in. Mr. Ortíz said these men were “hawks” or lookouts for criminal gangs.

“They know who I am, I know who they are,” he said. “You have to know everyone to do this work. The cartels respect the church. I’ve driven all around Nuevo Laredo in this van, full of migrants, and they never mess with me.”

At one point two of the lookouts asked the pastor for some food. He gave them two boxes of sandwich cookies. They clapped him on the shoulder, eating the treats as they walked back to their observation post.

Mr. Ortíz, a native of central Mexico, came to the U.S. at age 15 and eventually built a small contracting business in Texas. He became an ordained Baptist minister about a decade ago and three years ago began ministering to migrants full time. This year, he converted several rooms of his home in Laredo, Texas, into a dormitory for migrants and built men’s and women’s showers in his backyard.

After picking up the migrants, Mr. Ortíz ferried the group to an unmarked safe house with a chain-locked door on a busy street in the center of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

Inside, about 90 migrant families crowded into rows of cots set up in a handful of bedrooms and a concrete back patio. Among the Central Americans are also migrants from Peru, Congo, Haiti, Angola and Venezuela.

Reports of migrant kidnappings have increased since the Remain in Mexico program began, Mr. Ortíz said. In September, armed men stormed the safe house—one of two that the pastor brings migrants to—and detained the shelter’s staff for about an hour.

Since then, Mr. Ortíz said, the volunteer staff has stopped allowing migrants to leave the house unaccompanied, even to buy milk for young children at a nearby store.

Rosa Asencio, a schoolteacher fleeing criminal gangs in El Salvador and traveling with her two children ages 4 and 7, was returned to Nuevo Laredo under Remain in Mexico. She says she hasn’t been outside the shelter for nearly three weeks. “They can kidnap you anywhere,” she said.

María Mazariegos, an Honduran housekeeper, said she was kidnapped along with her 12-year-old daughter Alexandra from the bus station in Nuevo Laredo in September.

Gang members held her in a windowless cinder-block room that bore signs of torture for three days with one meal of tortillas and beans. She was released after her family members in the U.S. convinced her captors that they didn’t have the money to pay a ransom.

Then, two weeks later, while she was returning from a court appointment in the U.S., a shelter staff member confirmed, another group tried to kidnap her. An escort from the shelter was able to talk the kidnappers out of it.

She has court hearing under Remain in Mexico rules on Jan. 22, where a judge is expected to decide on her asylum case. If she is rejected, she plans to move to the Mexican city of Saltillo, where she has heard there are more jobs and less violence.

“Just about anywhere is better than here,” Ms. Mazariegos added.

Write to Robbie Whelan at robbie.whelan@wsj.com


These two quotes really tell you all you need know about this grotesquely immoral and illegal “Let ‘Em Die In Mexico Program” (sometimes totally disingenuously referred to as the “Migrant Protection Protocols”) and the sleazy U.S. Government officials responsible for it:

There have been 636 reported cases of kidnapping, rape, torture and other violent crimes against migrants returned to Mexico under Remain in Mexico, according to Human Rights First, which interviews victims in border cities and advocates for migrants’ due process rights. At least 138 of these incidents involved kidnappings of children.

. . . .

On a recent visit to the border, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the program has been a “game-changer” for U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers because it has freed them from having to perform humanitarian duties.

Let’s not forget that the Immigration “Court” system that has life or death power over these asylum claims has been twisted and “gamed” against legitimate asylum seekers, particularly women and children with brown skins, by the White Nationalist politicos who unconstitutionally control it. All this while the Article III appellate courts look the other way and “swallow the whistle” on protecting the legal and constitutional rights of the most vulnerable among us.

Let’s see, essentially: “It’s great program because it allows us to evade our humanitarian duties under humanitarian laws and concentrate on faux law enforcement directed against individuals who are not legitimate targets of law enforcement.” Doesn’t say much for the legal and moral authority of the Article III, life-tenured judges who think this is acceptable for our country.

Obviously, this has less to do with the law, which is clearly against what the “regime” is doing, or legitimate law enforcement, which has little to do with the vast majority of legal asylum seekers, and lots to do with vulnerable, brown-skinned individuals desperately seeking justice being “out of sight, out of mind” to the exalted, tone-deaf Article III Judges who are failing to do their Constitutional duties. “Going along to get along” appears to be the new mantra of far too many of the Article III appellate judges.

Assuming that our republic survives and that “Good Government” eventually returns to both the Executive and the Legislative Branches, an examination of the catastrophic failure of the Article III Judiciary to effectively stand up for the Constitutional, legal, and individual human rights of asylum seekers obviously needs reexamination and attention.

The glaring lack of legal expertise in asylum, immigration, and human rights laws as well as basic Constitutional Due Process, and the total lack of human empathy among far, far too many Article III appellate jurists is as stunning as it is disturbing! The past is the past; but, we can and should learn from it. At some point, if we are to survive as a nation of laws and humane values, we need a radically different and more courageous Article III Judiciary that puts humanity and human rights first, not last!

The “Let ‘Em Die In Mexico Program” will not go down in history as a “law enforcement success” as Wolf-man and the other Trump regime kakistocrats and their enablers and apologists claim; it eventually will take its place as one of the most disgraceful and cowardly abandonments of American values in our history. And, the role of the complicit Supreme Court Justices and Court of Appeals Judges who turned their backs on our asylum laws, our Constitution, and human decency will also be spotlighted!

As I was “indexing” this article, I “scrolled through” the name and thought of my old friend the late Arthur Helton, a courageous humanitarian, lawyer, teacher, role model, and occasional litigation opponent (during my days at the “Legacy INS”). Arthur, who literally gave his life for others and his steadfastly humane view of the law, was a believer in the “fundamental justice” of the American judicial system. I wonder what he would think if he were alive today to see the cowardly and complicit performance of so many Article III appellate judges, all the way up to and including the Supremes, in the face of the unlawful, unconstitutional, institutionalized evil, hate, and tyranny of our current White Nationalist regime.

Due Process Forever!



THE KEY TO “JUDICIAL” ADVANCEMENT IN BARR’S BIASED, NATIVIST POLITICAL REGIME: DENY ALL ASYLUM CASES — Regime Flaunts “Generous” Standard Established By Supremes In Cardoza-Fonseca, Mocks Due Process — A “Kakistocracy In Action!”

Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson, Esquire
Immigraton Attorney
New York, NY


Immigration Judges Asylum Grants & Denials in FY 2018-2019

by Bryan Johnson on December 24, 2019

After over 7 months, EOIR finally provided the Immigration Judges’ asylum grants and denials for FY 2018 and FY 2019, respectively.

To see the same statistics from FY 2014 to FY 2017, see this previous post. (which took less than 1 month for responsive records)

Of note is the asylum grants and denials for the 6 Immigration Judges who AG William Barr hand-picked for the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2019:

2 of the 6 new BIA members–Hunsucker and Cassidy–denied all their asylum cases in FY 2019.

All 6 of the new BIA members had asylum grant rates of below 10% in FY 2019.

Judge Gorman and Goodwin’s asylum grant rates dropped precipitously in FY 2019–from 14% to 3% and 9% to 3 %, respectively.

Immigration :

FY 2018: 210 asylum denials. 3 asylum grants. Grant rate: 1.4%

FY 2019: 166 asylum denials. 9 asylum grants. Grant rate: 5%

Immigration Judge Earle Wilson:

FY 2018: 226 asylum denials. 9 asylum grants. 3.8% grant rate.

FY 2019: 110 denials. 3 asylum grants. 2.6 % grant rate.

Immigration Judge William Cassidy:

FY 2018: 24 asylum denials. 1 asylum grant. 4% grant rate.

Bryan Johnson
Bryan Johnson, Esquire
Immigraton Attorney
New York, NY

FY 2019: 40 asylum denials. 0 asylum grants. 0% grant rate.

Immigration Judge Keith Hunsucker:

FY 2018: 19 asylum denials. 0 asylum grants. 0% grant rate.

FY 2019: 35 asylum denials. 0 asylum grants. 0% grant rate.

Immigration Judge Stephanie Gorman:

FY 2018: 174 asylum denials. 30 asylum grants. 14.7% grant rate.

FY 2019: 281 asylum denials. 11 asylum grants. 3.76% grant rate.


FY 2018: 302 asylum denials. 33 asylum grants. 9.85 % grant rate.

FY 2019: 177 asylum denials. 6 asylum grants. 3.27% grant rate.

For reference purposes, the average grant rate for FY 2018 and FY 2019 was 33% and 29%, respectively.


Go to the link for complete individual Immigration Judge asylum stats. 

The idea that a “court” system is providing “fair and impartial” decisions to  asylum seekers by advancing to important appellate positions biased, obviously unqualified, anti-asylum “jurists”with grant rates that are a small fraction of the already artificially and unethically suppressed “national average” is a total fraud — a grotesque national disgrace rivaled only by the gutless Article III judges who have allowed and encouraged this to happen on their watch!

Somewhat remarkably, after three years of concerted efforts to “zero out” asylum grants, including gimmicks like illegally and unethically rewriting asylum law to screw refugees, denying the statutory and Constitutional right to counsel, using coercive and punitive detention, abusive criminal prosecutions, and family separation to coerce asylum seekers into giving up viable claims, production quotas encouraging rote asylum denials, packing the Immigration Courts with appointees from enforcement backgrounds, and stacking the BIA with anti-asylum zealots, the overall asylum grant rate is still 29%.

That suggests that under a fair and impartial judicial system asylum seekers  could and should succeed in the vast majority of cases. With no material improvements in worldwide refugee-creating conditions, and indeed a record number of refugees fleeing oppression, there is no bona fide explanation for how grant rates would go from 43% in FY 2016 to 29% in FY 2019 without any legislative changes. And, let’s be clear: the 43% in 2016 was already artificially suppressed from 56% in FY 2012. Even the 2012 rate was unrealistically low. A realistic grant rate under a properly generous application of asylum law probably would have been in the 70%-80% range.

The answer is obvious: Government fraud and misfeasance in asylum adjudication on a massive scale, motivated by a White Nationalist, racist, nativist political agenda that clearly violates both the asylum laws and our Constitution. And, this doesn’t even take into account the many asylum seekers artificially denied access to the system at all through the “Let ‘Em Die in Mexico Program,” and ludicrously illegal and fraudulent “Safe Third Country” agreements with patently unsafe and corrupt failed states. 

Yet, while it’s all happening in plain view, indeed touted by Stephen Miller and other racist officials, the Article III Courts of Appeals and the Supremes have taken a dive. They are are allowing the “Second Coming of Jim Crow” to unfold before their eyes, every day, without taking the strong, courageous judicial actions necessary to preserve Due Process and fundamental fairness and to “just say no” to the overt racism driving anti-asylum policies.

Sure, the stock market is up and we’re essentially at full employment. But, that really has little or nothing to do with justice, morality, values, and the rule of law. Eventually, the inevitable economic cycles will turn again. 

With social justice, integrity, the rule of law, and our republic in shambles, how will the Article IIIs and the other cowardly enablers justify their roles and dereliction of their duty to stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable among us? And, who will stand up for them and their rights when the anti-American forces driving Trumpism decide that these toady judges’ complicit role is no longer essential to the planned destruction of American democracy?

In INS v. Cardoza Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 452 (1987), Justice Blackmun, in his concurring opinion, cautioned:

“The efforts of these courts stand in stark contrast to — but, it is sad to say, alone cannot make up for — the years of seemingly purposeful blindness by the INS, which only now begins its task of developing the standard entrusted to its care.” INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 452 (1987).

Unfortunately, after years of progress under Administrations with more integrity and intellectual honesty, the interpretation and application of U.S. asylum law is now in, perhaps terminal, regression under this corrupt and intellectually dishonest White Nationalist regime and the kakistocracy it has constructed within the immigration bureaucracy, including the parody of justice and Due Process that takes place daily in the Immigration “Courts.”

Even more tragically, this time around the Supremes and the Article III Circuit Courts, far from being part of the solution and fearless defenders of the rule of law and the rights of vulnerable asylum seekers, have become a key part of the “purposeful blindness” feeding and driving the problem — in effect, “slaughtering the innocents.” By their complicity and fecklessness, they are ripping apart our system of justice and our established constitutional order. I’m sure that Justice Blackmun would be both horrified and outraged by the institutional cowardice and dereliction of duty by his black-robed, life tenured successors.

Due Process Forever; Corrupt, Complicit Federal Courts Never!




Priscilla Alvarez
CNN Digital Expansion 2019, Priscilla Alvarez
Politics Reporter, CNN



Priscilla Alverez reports for CNN:


Immigration judges quit in response to administration policies


By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Updated 6:39 AM ET, Fri December 27, 2019


Washington (CNN)Lisa Dornell loved her job. For 24 years, she sat on the bench in Baltimore’s immigration court, hearing hundreds of cases of immigrants trying to stay in the United States.

“It was an honor. It was a privilege to be able to preside over so many different cases and be able to grant relief to people who needed relief,” Dornell told CNN in an interview.

But she walked away from that job in April — a decision that still invokes a wave of emotion when she recalls it. “The toxic environment made it both harder and easier to leave,” Dornell said.

Over the past year, in the heat of a border migration crisis, 45 judges have left, moved into new roles in the immigration court system — which is run by the Justice Department — or passed away, according to the department. That’s nearly double the number who departed their posts in fiscal years 2018 and 2017, when 24 and 21 judges left, respectively, according to data provided by the judges union.

The reasons why individual judges have moved on from their posts on the bench vary, but in interviews with judges who left in recent months, one theme ties them all together: frustration over a mounting number of policy changes that, they argue, chipped away at their authority.

Their departures come as the Justice Department faces a backlog that exceeds 1 million cases. The bogged-down system has led to immigration cases being pushed out years in the future, leaving many immigrants residing in the US unsure if they’ll be allowed to stay or be ordered removed.

Immigration judges accuse Justice Department of unfair labor practices

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nation’s immigration system, specifically taking issue with the practice of releasing immigrants while they await their court dates. To remedy that, the administration has sought to hire more immigration judges. Most recently, the immigration judge corps hit a record high, though the Justice Department still has to contend with judges leaving over policy disagreements.

In a statement to CNN, the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review spokeswoman, Kathryn Mattingly, said the agency “continually plans for attrition, and both improvements to the hiring process and a policy of ‘no dark courtrooms’ help minimize the operational impact of (immigration judge) separations and retirements.”

The agency doesn’t track individual reasons for retirements or departures, Mattingly said.

Immigration judges — employees of the Justice Department — are charged with following the policies set by each administration.

“The nature of the job ebbed and flowed as administrations changed,” Dornell recalled. “It was always tolerable. We all work with a realization that it’s the prerogative of the administration to implement policies as they see fit.”

The Trump administration was no exception. Trump’s first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, implemented a series of changes to the immigration court system that have continued under his successor, William Barr.

The Justice Department has imposed case quotas, given more power to the director charged with overseeing the courts, reversed rulings, curtailed judges’ ability to exercise discretion in some cases and moved to decertify the union of immigration judges.

Over time, those actions prompted immigration judges, some of whom were retirement eligible and had decades of experience, to leave the department despite initial plans to stay longer.

“I felt then and I feel now that this administration is doing everything in its power to completely destroy the immigration court system, the board of immigration appeal and the immigration system in general,” said Ilyce Shugall, who served as an immigration judge in San Francisco from 2017 until March of this year. “And I just couldn’t be a part of that.”

‘It started to wear on me’

Over his nearly two-year tenure as attorney general, Sessions transformed the courts by flexing his authority to overrule decisions, hire more immigration judges and set a case quota for judges.

One of Sessions’ addresses to the workforce, in particular, resonated with judges. In a June 2018 speech in Washington, Sessions denounced the system, which he believed was encouraging migrants to make baseless asylum claims, and reminded judges of their role in cracking down on those claims.

“You have an obligation to decide cases efficiently and to keep our federal laws functioning effectively, fairly and consistently,” Sessions said. Later that day, he issued a ruling that removed asylum protections for victims of domestic violence and gang violence.

“To be honest with you, in that meeting room, there were a number of judges that cheered and clapped when he announced it,” said former immigration judge Rebecca Jamil, referring to the ruling that would follow his address. “It was grotesque to me.”

Jamil, who had been based in the San Francisco immigration court, had a docket that included migrants who had fled their home countries, claiming they were victims of domestic violence. Sessions’ decision took direct aim at those cases.

Another judge in attendance at Sessions’ speech, Denise Slavin, recalled jaws dropping. Slavin had become a judge in 1995, serving in Florida before finishing her tenure in Baltimore in April of this year.

Sessions’ address and follow-up ruling was among a series of policy changes that began to wear on judges.

“When you’ve been around that many administrations, you learn to adapt. You see a lot of different things. Nothing like this,” said James Fujimoto, a former Chicago immigration judge who started on the bench in 1990 and also retired in April.

In particular, the administration began rolling out changes that dictated the way judges were expected to proceed with cases, thereby tightening control of the immigration courts. For example, the Justice Department said it would evaluate immigration judges on how many cases they close and how fast they hear cases.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department also issued a new rule that gives more power to the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. It allows the Justice Department-appointed director — currently James McHenry — to step in and issue a ruling if appeals are not completed within a certain time frame.

“It started to wear at me,” said Jennie Giambastiani, a former Chicago immigration judge who joined the bench in 2002 and left this year. “The great number of cases coming in and the way it was expected we handle them.”

Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told CNN that for the majority of people leaving their roles it’s a result of the “hostility and insulting working conditions.”

Tabaddor noted that there’s been a pattern of new judges either leaving to return to their old jobs or taking other jobs within the government.

“This is not what they signed up for,” Tabaddor said, referring to policies designed to dictate how judges should handle their dockets.

Judges who have since left the department expressed similar concern over those policies. Dornell called the situation “intolerable.”

Shugall recalled the challenges she had faced in trying to move forward with cases in a way she thought was appropriate. “I felt like as more and more policies were coming down, it was making it harder and harder to effectively hear cases in the way that I felt was appropriate and in compliance with the statute regulations and Constitution,” Shugall said.

At an event earlier this year, McHenry rejected criticism that judges are vulnerable to pressures from the attorney general.

“Most judges that we’re familiar with, and I don’t think that immigration judges are any exception, when they’re on the bench, they know what their role is as a judge,” he said. “We’ve had no allegations of anyone reaching down to specific judges telling them, ‘You have to rule this way; you have to rule that way.’ ”


Justice Department hires new judges

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced 28 new immigration judges, bringing the number of such judges to more than 465, a record high. The majority come from government backgrounds.

It’s not unusual for administrations to hire people who’ve worked in government, but under the Trump administration, Booz Allen Hamilton, at the direction of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, issued a report recommending that the agency diversify the experience of immigration judges.

The Justice Department’s hiring practices have been criticized by House Democrats, who say whistleblowers have previously raised concerns about political discrimination in the hiring of immigration judges. The department has denied that political ideology has been a factor.

The direction of the nation’s immigration courts is also a source of concern among immigrant advocate groups. This month, groups filed a wide-ranging lawsuit, alleging that the Trump administration has manipulated the immigration court system to serve an “anti immigrant agenda.”

It remains to be seen what changes, if any, are in store for the court system, but some of those who have already left their posts as judges carry guilt for departing, concerned about who may fill their jobs.

“The biggest thing I contended with is who is going to replace me,” Jamil said. “I knew I was a fair judge.”



I’m proud to say that all of the quoted former Immigration Judges are members of our Round Table of Former Immigration Judges, committed to preserving and advancing Due Process and judicial independence.


Apparently, EOIR headquarters and DOJ bureaucrats now refer to Immigration Judge decisions as “policy decisions,” thereby dropping any pretense that they are fair and impartial quasi-judicial adjudications under the law.


As for the ludicrous claim that this is anything approaching a legitimate independent judiciary, as one of my Round Table colleagues succinctly put it: “The political arm of DOJ’s assertion that IJs are treated independently is so much BS.”


Yup! Congratulations and many thanks to Judge Dornell and the others who spoke out in this article!

So, Immigration Judges, who lack the life tenure and protections of independence given to Article III Judges, put their careers and livelihoods on the line for Due Process and the rule of law, and, frankly, to save vulnerable lives that deserve saving. Meanwhile, the majority of Supreme Court Justices and far too many Article III Courts of Appeals Judges just bury their judicial heads in the sand and pretend like the outrages against Due Process, fundamental fairness, and the rule of law aren’t really happening in Immigration Court and that human lives aren’t being ruined or lost by their derelictions of duty. Has to make you wonder about their ethics, courage, and commitment to their oaths of office, as well as what the purpose of life tenure is if all it produces is complicity in the face of tyranny that threatens to destroy our Constitution and bring down our republic.

The Article IIIs are providing some rather sad examples and bad role models for today’s aspiring lawyers.





Roger Algase
Roger Algase
Immigration Attorney
New York, NY

My holiday poem (in Japanese waka verse style):

In this holiday

Season of Hanukkah and

Christmas, let us hope

That we can live in a world

Which will be free from hatred.

See my blogging below about immigration, Hanukkah, and Human Rights, and have a wonderful holiday.




As the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which has been a symbol of liberty and freedom from oppression for 2,000 years approaches, 25 Jewish members of Congress, all Democrats, have signed a letter demanding the resignation of Donald Trump’s main architect of oppression and persecution against nonwhite immigrants. This is even as Miller is reportedly preparing a new secret plan to inflict more appalling cruelty and violations of basic human rights against detained immigrant children because he objects to the color of their skin.

For more on the Congressional members’ letter, which was in reaction to the shocking revelation of Miller’s almost 1,000 recent extremist white supremacist anti-immigrant emails, see CNN (December 20):


The letter, addressed to Donald Trump (who will now forever be known as the third president in US history to be impeached by the House of Representatives) states in part:

“As Jewish members of Congress, we are calling on you to immediately relieve White House Senior Advisor Stephen Miller of all government responsibilities and to dismiss him from your administration…His documentation of white nationalist and virulently anti-immigrant tropes is wholly unacceptable and disqualifying for a government employee.”

But even as the above letter was written a news item has now come to light about a secret new policy that Miller has reportedly launched that will make it harder for detained immigrant children to be released by ICE to the custody of family members or friends who are willing to come forward to take custody of them.

This vicious new policy represents a new low in the appalling cruelty that Trump and Miller have shown toward young children whom Trump and Miller do not think should be welcome in the US because, as Trump reportedly said almost two years ago (in January 2018), they are not from “Countries like Norway.”

Details of Miller’s plan, which has not been publicly announced are contained in a December 20 Washington Post article entitled:

Under secret Stephen Miller plan, ICE to use data on migrant children to expand deportation efforts


The Post reports that senior officials at the Department of Health and Human Services:

“…agreed to allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to collect fingerprints and other biometric information from adults seeking to claim children at migrant shelters. If these adults are deemed ineligible to take custody of children, ICE could then use their information to target them for arrest and deportation.”

The Post;s report also shows that this appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump-Miller regime to defy the intention of Congress, in keeping with the virtual dictatorship over immigration policy that America’s third president to be impeached by the House (and the second for abuse of power) is imposing under the authoritarian “unitary executive” theory which directly conflicts with the Constitution and with our basic principles of democracy.

The Post report states:

“The arrangement appears to circumvent laws that restrict the use of the refugee program for deportation enforcement. Congress has made clear that it does not want those who come forward as potential sponsors of minors in U.S. custody to be frightened away by potential deportation.”

But this is precisely what Stephen Miller is attempting to do, according to the above report.

How ironic that this appalling attack against children in pursuit of the Trump-Miller administration’s racial immigration agenda came to light just before the Hanukkah holiday This holiday, which began this year on the evening of December 22, celebrates the heroic resistance of the Maccabees, Jewish freedom fighters, against an oppressive ruler, Antiochus, king of Syria, in 169 B.C.

Rabbi Sid Schwarz explains the meaning of Hanukkah as follows:

“Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of religious liberty and freedom.”

But Hanukkah stands for more than just freedom of religious persecution – such as Donald Trump instituted within days after taking office ac president by imposing his Muslim ban – a blatant violation of the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom which should have immediately led to impeachment proceedings at that time.

As Rabbi Schwarz also writes concerning the tradition that a small amount of oil for the temple lamp lasted for eight days, Hanukkah is also a celebration of Human Rights in general:

“Whether one believes literally in the miracle of the high-octane oil, on a spiritual level Hanukkah is about a much bigger miracle. It is the miracle of faith conquering fear. of the few overcoming the many, of liberty winning out over oppression.

Hanukkah falls close to Human Rights Day which we celebrate every year on December 10. We ignore this day at our peril. The date was based on the 1948 ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the general Assembly of the United Nations.

Enshrines in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are principles at the core of democracy: the right to life, liberty and security of person; equal justice before the law; protection against cruel and degrading forms of punishment…”


What could be a more cruel and degrading practice than keeping young children incarcerated while intimidating their parents or other family members against coming to pick them up because of fear of being deported? It would be hard to imagine any greater form of deliberate sadism.

Therefore I would like to make the following proposal to Stephen Miller, the great grandson of an impecunious early 20th century Jewish immigrant who would without any question be barred from entry to the US under Miller’s own vastly expanded Public Charge rules (if they ever go into effect).

I would ask Miller, who seems to be totally oblivious to the history of persecution and exclusion that Jewish immigrants were subjected to by the US government for much of the 20th century, including the 1930’s and 1940’s at the time of their most desperate need, whether he would be willing to agree to the following proposal:

If Stephen Miller and Donald Trump, who claims to be a great friend of the Jewish people and whose own daughter and son-in-law are Jewish, are unwilling to abandon their inhuman and arguably illegal practice of frightening parents or other relatives of detained immigrant children from coming to pick them up and arrange their release, through fear of action by ICE, would Trump and Miller be willing to suspend this barbaric practice for at least the eight days of Hanukkah as a gesture of good will, and in the spirit of the holiday?

Or would that be too much to ask?

With the above thoughts, I wish all readers a Happy Hanukkah and a very Merry Christmas.

Roger Algase
Attorney at Law

Last edited by ImmigrationLawBlogs; 12-23-2019, 10:25 AM.



ImmigrationLawBlogs started a blog post Trump administration moves to deport Dreamers after giving assurances that it wouldn’t. Dreamers’ plight is not Obama’s fault By Roger Algase

12-25-2019, 10:09 AM

At the time when President Barack Obama instituted DACA, there was a warning from the opposition side that one day, under a different president, DACA might make it easier rather than harder to deport immigrants registering for that program. The reasoning was that by registering for DACA, millions of unauthorized immigrants would be providing the government with personal information which could later be used against them for deportation purposes.

However, the fact that DACA information might later on be misused by a future malevolent president for a purpose opposite the the one intended was certainly no reason for scrapping the entire program. At least it is unlikely that the 800,000 immigrants who are now benefiting from DACA would agree. Almost any action that is taken with regard to immigration might have results in the future different from those initially contemplated.

To give an example of a different immigration program, at the time that Trump instituted the Muslim ban executive orders, supporters of the ban didn’t seem to realize that if a current president were given the power to defy the guarantee of religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution by banning immigrants from Muslim countries, a future president whose bigotry might run in a different direction form Trump’s bigotry, might use the same power to ban Jewish immigrants from Israel, or to ban Catholic immigrants from Europe (as was in fact done in the 1924 immigration law..

In any event, warnings about possible misuse of DACA in the future were not taken seriously, because at the time that he announced the termination of DACA, Trump put out the line that, of course, he would never dream of doing anything as nasty as actually deporting DACA recipients. Later on, during Supreme Court argument on DACA, Chief Justice Roberts bought into these assurances hook, line, and sinker, as Frank Sharry of America’s Voice describes in a December 23 press release entitled:

Chief Justice Roberts, You were wrong. Trump does want to deport DACA recipients

Sharry quotes Roberts during the Supreme Court’s oral argument on DACA as saying:

“…the whole thing [about DACA] was about work authorization and these other benefits. Both administrations have said that they’re not going to deport the people.”

Now, with a December 21 CNN report that the Trump-Miller administration is moving to reopen previously closed deportation cases against DACA recipients who have no or only minor criminal records, Trump’s assurances are turning out to be a hollow, if not actually fraudulent, as so many of his other statements on immigration have been.

For this reason, Roberts was either in denial, as Frank Sharry asserts, or was being misled by the Trump administration about the real issue involved in DACA. See CNN:

ICE reopening long-closed Dreamer deportation cases


Is this about-face (one might call it turncoat action) by Trump and Miller the fault of former president Barack Obama? That would seem to be an example of convoluted, if not Orwellian, reasoning at best – the idea being that a president who saved neatly a million immigrants from deportation through DACA really hurt them instead, while a different president who is actually threatening to deport them has no responsibility for this action.

CNN reports as follows:

“ICE confirmed to CNN that DACA recipients whose deportation cases have been administratively closed can expect to see them reopened. In an email, the agency states that ‘re-calendaring of administratively closed cases is occurring nationwide and not isolated to a particular state or region.'”

The same CNN report also states:

“The move to reopen deportation cases against Dreamers comes as the US Supreme Court considers whether to let the Trump administration end the program – and during oral arguments in November, at least some justices made it clear that they were accepting the president’s assurances that ending DACA would not mean deporting Dreamers.” 

The only possible conclusion is that the Trump administration either deliberately misled the Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice and, as CNN also mentions, other justices as well, relied on its assurance that no Dreamers would be deported; or else that the no deportation assurance is now “inoperative” (to use a famous expression from the Nixon administration during the Watergate scandal).

The above raises a few questions:

1) Is this act of outright deception (worst case) or sleight of hand (at best) on the part of the Trump administration with regard to its intention to deport Dreamers if DACA is terminated the fault of former President Obama?

2) Full information about Dreamers whose deportation cases were closed was already known to the government at the time that President Obama established DACA. Otherwise, the deportation cases would not have been started in the first place. How could establishing DACA and closing their cases have put these deportation respondents at any greater risk than they already were subject to?

3) President Obama established DACA to try to save the “Dreamers” from being deported. Donald Trump is now trying to end DACA in order to deport them. If they are eventually deported, will that be President Obama’s fault? That kind of argument could only come out of a George Orwell novel.

4) Finally, we must ask, why is it so important to the Trump and Miller administration to deport the “Dreamers”? To answer that question, we need look no further than Miller’s recently revealed almost 1,000 emails contending that non-white immigrants are not welcome in the United States, with or without legal status.

Deporting 800,000 “Dreamers” would be only one part of Miller’s drive to accomplish this sweeping, white supremacist agenda, which would take America back to the 1924 Europeans-only immigration regime that Miller reportedly holds up as his ideal in the above mentioned emails, and which has very arguably become the basis of the Trump administration’s entire immigration agenda.

As The Atlantic states regarding Miller’s recently revealed immigration related emails (November, 2019):

” That Miller himself possesses a Jewish background is no obstacle to his believing that the racist and anti-Semitic restrictions of the 1920’s were a great achievement and that the law that repealed them was a great tragedy. These comments shed a great deal of light on Miller’s motives in shaping administration policy.”


Nothing could be clearer about who will be responsible for deporting up to 800,000 Dreamers if Chief Justice Roberts and the other Supreme Court “conservatives” buy into the Trump administration’s worthless assurances that the Dreamers will be safe from deportation even if DACA is terminated.

The president responsible for that exercise in ethnic cleansing will not be named Barack Obama.

Roger Algase

Attorney at Law

Last edited by ImmigrationLawBlogs; 12-26-2019, 10:23 AM.


Thanks, Roger, for sharing your thoughts and for “telling it like it is!”

It’s pretty obvious that Solicitor General Noel Francisco lied to the Supremes about the Dreamers’ fate! He also misrepresented the dire consequences of depriving them of employment authorization and other aspects of being allowed to reside here “under color of law” as opposed to just “not being removed.” That’s in addition to his mental gymnastics of substituting a non-existent “policy” rationale (hint, there is no legitimate policy rationale for dumping on the Dreamers) for the original “bogus legal rationale” put forth by Sessions.

It’s by no means the first time that DOJ lawyers have lied to or mislead Federal Courts about immigration policies and the motives for actions by the Trump regime. How about the “Census Case,” providing bogus rationales for the Travel Ban, reprogramming money for “the Wall” based on a fabricated “national emergency,” denying the existence of a child separation program, claiming that reuniting children was “too difficult,” the “Let ‘Em Die in Mexico” program, or papering over Session’s nativist bias and motives for the “A-B- Atrocity,” to name just a few of the more obvious and egregious ones? Essentially, it’s like claiming that “poll taxes” were about “raising revenue” or that “separate” was “equal.” 

For most lawyers, lack of candor to a Federal Court would be a serious matter, putting their licenses to practice law at risk. Why are Francisco and the rest of his merry band at DOJ, all the way up to Barr and Sessions before him, exempt from the normal rules of ethics and professional conduct? Why do the Supremes continue to reward his dishonesty by time and again granting his largely frivolous requests to “short circuit” normal judicial procedures and get an immediate audience with the Supremes?

Since Trump and “Moscow Mitch” are stacking the Article III Judiciary with what they believe to be reliable Trump sycophants, it probably would be a mistake to think that “equal justice for all” will reappear in the Article IIIs any time soon.




“THE GIFTS OF THE MAGA-I:” DESPAIR, DEHUMANIZATION, DEATH — “[W]e keep wondering, how many 7-year-old girls would need to die for this to be something that would get in the headlines and stay in the headlines for a day or two?”

Dahlia Lithwick
Dahlia Lithwick
Legal Reporter
Kristin Clarens
Kristin Clarens, Esquire
Project Adelante



Trump’s Tent Cities Are on the Verge of Killing Immigrant Children


DEC 23, 20191:17 PM